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I’m about to return home after 5 months travelling and I’m already thinking about how I will need to adjust.

At the moment I take 6, 7, even 9 hour journeys on hot and humid trains or buses without much thought, I smile at strangers, I take naps in the middle of the day, I walk everywhere and eat food from street vendors (with questionable hygiene!). I wear the same clothes most days and hand wash them in the sink. I rarely wear make up and get fellow travellers to cut my hair. Sometimes I walk around for hours with my camera in hand or jump on a bus to a different town just to see what’s there or meander around the local market. I meet new people and share journeys with them along the way. I spend time on my own and can sit for long periods reflecting and watching the world go by.

Part of me wonders whether I even need to adjust. Maybe I need to allow myself to do these things at home. Life can be simple if you allow it to be, although I know that the world I’ll come home to will feel so much different to the one I experience on my travels. I have no doubt that within days it will feel as if I have never been away, but it is important to me that I have.  My photographs trigger the memories and feelings that I felt whilst away and are hugely important to me.

Tom Freston
"Travel early and travel often. Live abroad, if you can. Understand cultures other than your own. As your understanding of other cultures increases, your understanding of yourself and your own culture will increase exponentially."

Lots of people comment about the risks of solo female travel, but I feel that being a female and alone has created so much opportunity. Groups and couples are not as approachable.  Women in particular seem more welcoming to me when I’m on my own and let their guard down just that little bit more. Families have shared their food with me on long train journeys, given up their seats or insisted that I join the front of a queue. I’ve had invitations into people’s homes and private tours or accommodation provided free of charge.

Having the opportunity to travel the world is something that I’m grateful for, but the interactions I have had with people around the world is what makes my time away so special and meaningful to me.

The small moments are the best and a true reminder that it’s often the simple things in life which provide the greatest pleasure.

At the end of a yoga class we are often asked to think about one thing that we are grateful for – family, friendship, freedom, good health…it can be anything. For me, I am always grateful for opportunity. Opportunities open doors and can result in wholesale changes to our lives if we accept them. Sometimes we need to take big risks, change our mindset, or just take a shot in the hope that things will work themselves out.

I often got told that I’m lucky but I like to think that it’s more about creating opportunities and saying YES! Life doesn’t always work out the way you have planned but sometimes that’s a good thing.

This picture will always remind me of my 9 hour train journey from Ella to Kandy where my only option was the floor in the middle of a hot and humid carriage until this little girl decided to sit with me and share her sweets and fizzy pop. Such a small gesture meant everything to me – before long I was sat up with her family and treated like one of their own.

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